SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies have gone from inexplicably losing four straight home games to the Houston Astros to taking two close road victories against the San Diego Padres, who have the National League’s best record.
Shane Victorino had two of Philadelphia’s three hits at spacious Petco Park, including a go-ahead triple off Jon Garland in the seventh inning, and the Phillies beat the Padres 3-1 on Saturday.
“It’s baseball,” Victorino said. “We’re not going to look at it any differently. It’s about winning. It’s that time to start grinding away. We definitely came off a frustrating four games at home to come to a place like this and play the No. 1 team in the league. It says a lot about us. We’ve got to find ourselves and keep plugging along.”
The Phillies, 13-2 against NL West teams, increased their wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games over San Francisco, which lost to Arizona. San Diego, which has lost three straight games for only the second time this season, lead the Giants by six.
Brad Lidge pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 23 chances. On Friday night, Lidge balked in the tying run with two outs in the ninth to blow the save, but the Phillies won 3-2 in 12 innings.
Joe Blanton (6-6) held the Padres to one run and six hits in six innings, with three strikeouts and one walk. He got only his fourth decision (3-1) in his past 12 starts. Blanton and three relievers retired the final 11 Padres batters.
“We have played consistent,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We played a good game today but we just couldn’t get enough hits bunched together against Blanton or their bullpen.”
It was Philadelphia’s 10th win in its past 11 games at Petco Park. The Phillies are 17-4 at the downtown ballpark since it opened in 2004.
Besides his triple, Victorino hit an RBI single in the fifth. Jayson Werth scored on both of Victorino’s hits. Victorino, the center fielder, also threw out Nick Hundley at the plate to end the Padres’ fifth.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he briefly thought about sitting the switch-hitting Victorino, who was hitting only .220 from the left side. But he noticed he was 4 for 11 lifetime against Garland.
It was a good decision to keep Victorino in the lineup.
With the score tied at 1, Werth walked leading off the seventh and scored when Victorino’s one-out drive bounced past diving center fielder Chris Denorfia and rolled to the fence for a triple, chasing Garland.
Left-hander Joe Thatcher intentionally walked pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz and made way for Luke Gregerson.
Victorino scored when the Padres couldn’t turn a double play on pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney’s grounder to shortstop. The Padres forced Ruiz, but his slide took out second baseman David Eckstein, whose throw to first wasn’t in time to get Sweeney.
“I’m not saying this is the answer to me going out and finding my left-handed swing, but I want to try to perfect it as much as I can,” Victorino said. “I’ve got to give credit to Charlie for keep running me out there.”
The Phillies will go for the sweep Sunday when they send San Diego native Cole Hamels against Clayton Richard in a matchup of lefties.
“We’ve done a nice job the first two days,” Blanton said. “We only had three hits and three runs. That’s pretty good, making use of your hits right there.”
Garland (13-9) didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, when Victorino singled to center with one out to bring in Werth. Werth was hit on the wrist by a pitch leading off the inning and walked slowly to first. He advanced on Raul Ibanez’s groundout.
“That’s what hurt me,” Garland said. “If I don’t give the free passes, Victorino still gets his hit, it just doesn’t hurt me. Those always come back to hurt you.”
Garland, who had won his previous three starts, allowed three runs and three hits in 6 1⁄3 innings, with three walks and two strikeouts.
Garland singled in Denorfia with two outs in the fifth to tie the score at 1. Hundley tried to score from second on Eckstein’s single to center, but Victorino’s one-hop throw nailed him at the plate to end the inning.